Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Dec. 11, 2018


Svalbardbutikken prices 25 percent to 40 percent higher than mainland grocers
Grocery prices at Longyearbyen’s only grocery store are far higher than six supermarkets on the mainland, according to a comparison of nearly 90 products. Prices for the items at Svalbardbutikken were slightly more than 3,900 kroner, compared to 2,705 kroner at Coop Xtra, the cheapest mainland store surveyed. The most expensive mainland store was Spar, where the items cost 3,145 kroner. Among the biggest price differences for individual items were cauliflower (46.90 kroner per kilo at Svalbardbutikken vs. 12.90 kroner per kilo on the mainland), cottage cheese (49.80 kroner vs. 24.90 kroner), plus chicken fillets and various cold cuts. Only four items were cheaper at Svalbardbutikken than at a mainland store. While Svalbardbutikken does not have to pay the value-added tax imposed on mainland merchants, the high cost of shipping goods to Svalbard exceeds that amount and is largely responsible for the higher local prices, said Ronny Strømnes, the store’s manager. In particular, fresh items such as vegetables that must be shipped frequently by air are costly.

Boathouse owners fined 52,000 kroner for illegal occupants
Three owners of boathouses at Sjøområdet have been fined a total of 52,000 kroner for allowing people to illegal live in them, according to city officials. An inspection of the area by the fire department in October revealed six people living in boathouses, which have lower safety requirements than residential properties. The occupants were forced to immediately abandon the buildings. Owners Kai Edgar Trædal and Carl Martin A. Schönning were each subsequently fined 20,000 kroner, and Trude Mørkved and Birgit Gregussen were fined 12,000 kroner. Efforts by the city to empty boathouses of occupants began in 2013, but only minimal inspection and enforcement has occurred until this fall’s action.